Down time is vital for maintaining a positive attitude and good health, and soothing surroundings can make all the difference in your ability to unwind. Generous and comfortable seating, attractive painted furniture with storage to put clutter out of sight, and appealing color and texture choices can all make your home an easier place in which to relax. Mixing an earthy color such as golden ochre with beachy sea-inspired colors gives an added element of depth to nudge you into a contemplative mood. Woven wicker patterns and chunky rugs may put you in mind of a cozy cottage in which you once spent a pleasant sabbatical.
Knowing where your outdoor furniture is made is a powerful force for change. The problem: the demand for popular exported woods (teak & ipe) is what drives illegal loggers deeper and deeper into pristine forests. Tropical forests are being eradicated at an excruciating rate.
Earthbilt Solutions & Rainforest Relief are working to reduce the demand for products derived from rainforest destruction and highly recommend Black Locust wood for outdoor garden furniture. Haste Garden Furniture is made from Robinia wood which is known as black locust in the US. This incredibly “green” material will outlast any wood in the outdoors, does not splinter, warp or crack. Made in Poland and harvested from 100% certified FSC well managed forests, it protects our natural environment. In Europe, they have been growing Robinia for over 300 years and have since selectively bred and culitivated the crop.
Our line of Haste Garden Outdoor Furniture imported from Poland is not only environmentally friendly, but the quality and attention to detail is second to none. The Kamea outdoor sectional is handsomely designed and built to last. For outdoor dining, the Rebecca folding tables and chairs are perfect for a garden patio or cafe. The Riviera bench is available as a 2-seat or 3-seater and features a curved back for comfort and beautiful
The choice of the right table is essential to create an atmosphere of harmony for any home, but a laid back farmhouse style house requires a special table. Remember that a farmhouse table will become the focal point of a room and that everything will need to revolve around it. It is important that the table makes a statement and invokes a sense and function and beauty. It should have a classic quality that says it has been around for years or at least will be. We can offer some practical advice and a complete gallery to inspire you.
1. What are you using the table for?
Will your farmhouse table be a kitchen work table, occasional dining table or grand entry table? Will it be a multipurpose table where you will work from time to time, do crafts, have family dinners and entertain? In most cases you will need a durable surface and the correct height for the tasks at hand. Another factor to consider is how many people you will need to seat. Are your dinner parties for two or twenty? How much space do you have for it?
2. Choose the appropriate material for your farmhouse table
Choose the material of the farmhouse table based on its intended use. If this is your main dining table for all of your meals, you will want to choose a resistant and easy maintenance material. Rustic wood table tops such as live edge and rough hewn tables add rustic elegance but are harder to clean. Glass is generally too formal for a farm house table, but metal tops such as stainless steel or copper can give an industrial feel. Oak, maple and other hardwoods are more durable than pine, birch and poplar. Wood stained tables are easier to maintain than painted finishes, which tend to scuff. You can also opt for a stained or metal top and painted legs and apron.
If there are children in the household, and it is used daily, dings, scratches and discoloration are to be expected and add to the allure and charm of the table. Vintage or reclaimed wood tables enjoy a patina which can be enjoyed for generations without having to worry about adding additional distressing. If you are going to use your table more sporadically, you can opt for a more delicate material, but in general, a distressed farmhouse table is beautiful in its own right, history and all. Reclaimed or upcycled materials can also add a feeling of age to a new table.
3. How big should my table be?
Allow 18”to 24”per person for comfortable seating. With a bench or smaller chairs for children, this can be adjusted slightly. ? This will influence the size of the table. For a table of 6 people, you would need a table about 5’ long and 30” wide, knowing that the average height of a table is 29” to 30”. For four people the table should be about 48”, leaving at least 28” to the surroundings. Allow adequate space around the table to move around. If you are using the table as a kitchen island, make sure you allow at least 3 ½’ around each side of the table. For a large hallway table allow 4’ on each side for a walkway.
4. Choose the shape of the table
- Rectangular tables: Generally a farm house table is a large rectangle. Having more space between diners allows for less intimacy, but also usually allows for more comfort and space. If you have less space, you can also enjoy a long narrow table.
- Square tables: Square tables are best suited for small spaces. An ideal size is about 60” although extensions may be available to double their capacity.
- Extendable tables: Virtually all styles of tables can be extended and are perfect if your space is not very large. You only have to confirm that you have the necessary space to open them and to have a minimum of space around them.
5. How do you accessorize your table?
It is advantageous to define the area where the table is as a separate space. Use a large rug, paintings, a plant in some corner, etc. to define the space. Large rectangular light fixtures work well with farmhouse tables as well as several pendant lamps. Runners placed across the short side of the table can break up long spaces. This will insure that guests do not feel they are sitting in a void. The dining area should have a sense of stability and create a pleasant atmosphere. Chairs run the gamut from industrial metal chairs, x-back wood chairs, rattan or more traditional designs.
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According to Wikipedia , A log cabin is a house that is made of logs to give it a sophisticated and ancient look. In America and Europe, log cabins were the first houses to be constructed by humans. The first log cabin is believed to have been built in Northern Europe during the Bronze Age. In United States, the first log cabins were constructed by European settlers by 1638. Log cabins were constructed from tree trunks that were laid horizontally, and notching the interlocking corners. Settlers in the United States used log cabins as temporary homes to live in before they constructed permanent structures. Once they moved into the permanent structure, they would use the log cabins as outdoor shelter such as barns or attach new houses to the log home. Today, the concept of log cabins is widely adopted in the United States as an alternative to concrete and steel homes.
Log cabin homes can be custom made so that they can be attractive from both inside and outside. If you are looking to construct one or just want the appearance of a log home in an existing dwelling, there are different log cabin styles you can use to design a visually appealing house. Here are some log cabin styles of decorating to use to stage your home.
Nothing says “welcome to Northwoods’ than staying in a log cabin. The Northwoods style is a wonderful design for potential homeowners looking for an affordable option or a getaway retreat from the busy city life. With this log cabin style, you can have different colors that complement with the surrounding environment. This includes forest green, tan, buffalo check, brown or red and black. For log cabin decorating ideas, you can choose moose and bear motifs. You can also go for mounted heads or Northern Pike to decorate the interior of your log cabin home. To top it off, you can choose the fishing and hunting themes. To construct your Northwood log cabin, you can use pine and birch trees or hickory. Other piece of items you can have inside the log cabin home include old fishing creels, lures and nets, and rustic furniture.
Mission is classic southwest décor that you can use to draw inspiration from. With the Mission log cabin style, it is advisable to use muted tones and sunset colors. This includes rust, gold, pink, peach and sage. It is often Spanish inspired. Use stucco and adobe to decorate your log cabin. You can also go for Native American prints and rugs as part of your décor. While designing your Mission log cabin use straight lines, iron sconces and crosses.
If you are looking for that modern and loft look in your log cabin home, Aspen is the style you might like. This style utilizes neutral colors, light oak, cream, white, black and grey colors. The Aspen log cabin style should have minimal pieces, lots of windows and grand cathedral ceilings. Amenities may include saunas, hot tubs and other luxuries.
The Western log cabin style is inspired by classic cabins of the western United States. For the colors, the Western style utilizes denim blue, black, red and worn leather. For the interior décor, go for bandana prints, and horse and cattle motifs. To achieve that classic look, use a watering trough in place of bathtub and shower. Other items you can have inside your log cabin home include horse blankets, saddles and horse shoes, chaps and boots, chuck wagons and triangle dinner bells, ranch and rodeo posters.
The Lakeside cabin is an incredible style for those looking to live a casual life on a lake or pond. Colors include pale blue and white, cream, grey, taupe and navy. For the furniture, go for white painted furniture and Adirondack chairs. At the door, you can use sisal rugs to collect tracked in sand. To achieve that ambient lakeside feeling, you can decorate with found items such as driftwood, rocks, shells and decorative shore birds.
The perfect place for hunting camp or getaways during the weekend is the Adirondack style cabin. The style or colors could be anything from the 20s and 30s. Log cabin quilts are a good starting point. Make sure to use antique and mismatched pieces and of course the addition of rocking chairs on the porch. Metal roofing is also in keeping with this style.
A primitive log cabin can serve as a great getaway for hunting, fishing or just relaxing. The style is reminiscent of the 1700 to 1800s. You can use quilts, period pieces, American antiques and modern appliances hidden behind reproduction cabinets. It should have a hearth which is the center of the home.
- Retro tourist cabin
Like the name suggests, the retro tourist cabin style can be anything from the 40s, 50s and 60s. Reminiscent of the the tourist camps of these decades, it is a nostalgic leap back into the mid 20th century. Use camp art signs in addition to pillows and souvenirs.
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After attending the markets this season, our designers were amazed at a trend sweeping the country.Maybe it is because of the presidential election or a new found national patriotism, but in either case, red, white and blue are back in a big way. Not the soft denim blue, but bright cobalt, indigo and sapphire. Red acts as an accent color, or is avoided in favor of a more simple blue and white pallet.
It has been seen in wall color, and rugs. Blue and white can go traditional, or up to the moment contemporary.
Cobalt makes a strong but peaceful statement in the bathroom or bedroom.
Grandma’s blue willow dishes are out of the closet and front and center as a decorative motif.
Below, bedding in indigo and white is especially welcoming and restful and adds a fresh nautical look to a plain white bedroom.
Watch for Flag art, including actual flags framed in all of their glory. Hanging flags on porches and walls and flags from other nations as well as the US.
I will be turning 60 this year and although I am not ready to retire, it may be time to downsize. Many of the things in my home have surpassed any usefulness, but slap me in the face whenever I see them and know I no longer have a use for them. Red patent leather roller skates, skis, a wet suit, aging furniture which no longer has a place all take up space without delivering the function they once did. A computer tower, TV cabinet, fine china and several closets full of bedding enjoy space that could be used for better things. All have a place in my heart and history, but now look lost, forlorn and useless, at least to me.
I started decluttering/downsizing everything we owned several years ago, more through necessity than desire. I was moving to a smaller home and did not have the room to store it all. I gave many items to my and donated more items. It is always hard to let something go that has been in the family for generations, but there comes a time when possessions can take over and become more a hindrance than a help.
I keep a donation bag handy all the time and when it is full, it goes to the car to be dropped off. My advice on this is, that once in the bag, never look back. A box for each of my children sits ready for their next visit. If they don’t want it and take it with them, out it goes. Anything dog-eared and worn goes in the trash or rag bag.
I am discovering that I like the clean and spacious home without having things to put away, clean, dust and repair. Fumio Sasaki, a Japanese minimalist blogger and write says, in his blog Minimal & Ism “I think many people have learned that gathering things does not make you happy,” Sasaki says. “The older generation experienced the bubble economy, which praised material abundance, but our generation didn’t. You can feel more liberated by having fewer things around you.”
I am not an advocate of stark cold interiors, rather spaces with useful and beautiful items which function properly. Purge gently and often. Limit new purchases to necessities and try, as hard as it is to throw out two things for every one that comes in.
I have found that the cold icy months are the very best time to order new plants for the gardens and plans for landscaping decks or patios for the coming spring. In only a few short months it will be spring and with plenty of outdoor activities, projects and planting to be done, you will be happy you took the time now to plan. Keep in mind that patio furniture may take three months to deliver, so order now so it will arrive in time for any summertime events.
Start with measuring the area. Remember that many locations are not level and may need special attention. Place a stake at each corner of the space at the lowest point. Tie a string to each stake and use a bubble level to determine the where the level point is. A patio or deck should lean slightly (about 1/2″) away from any buildings to prevent water runoff. A vegetable or flower garden should be relatively flat to ensure that water is absorbed efficiently.
Garden and landscape planning is easily done indoors. Pick a sunny spot by a window. This will put you in the right mindset to begin planning. If you receive seed and plant catalogs, pull them out for inspiration. Some of my favorites are: Burpee, Springhill and Gurneys. Some states have DNR publications that offer trees, shrubs and other plants at a discount. Clip pictures or visit social media sights for garden inspiration. The more inspiration you can glean from these, the better your project will be. Let your creative juices flow. Sketch out a few ideas, even if they are unrealistic. This will give you a starting place. You can always add or delete something later.
For decks, patios, or landscaping, consider the scope of your project and determine if you need to hire contractors and landscape companies. Entice family and friends to help with the project. You can pay them back with a backyard barbeque later this summer.
Keep in mind that summer is a few short months away. Enjoy your future space while planning it. Walk through a day. Have coffee on the deck, follow by picking vegetables in the garden and taking a bouquet of flowers from your garden to a friend. Have wine on the porch, a fire in your backyard fire-pit with toasted marshmallows, and suddenly the winter has gone away. Summer is here, replete with all of the wonderful sights, sounds and smells. Do I hear crickets?
An organized entry way is the key to a great start on the day. If you have ever started out the morning searching frantically for your keys or sunglasses, you understand that having a spot for everything where you can grab it and go is key to simplicity and calm in the morning.
If you are lucky, as I was, to have kids, mornings are a chaotic mess if there is not a plan and a place for everything. Start with the school stuff. Homework, soccer shoes and notebooks need a special place, hopefully close to the door and large enough to house the day’s necessities. Each person in the household needs their own space, or it won’t work. Hang coats, leave gloves, shoes and scarves here. Anything that comes in and must go out, must be put in place before bedtime, or the time consuming final paper will undoubtedly be left on the night stand or kitchen table. The plan is that everything is in place the night before. For lunches or refrigerated items, leave a sticky note on the door, so it won’t be forgotten in the mad rush out the door.
The entry or rear entry should contain an easily cleanable flooring material to handle muddy or wet boots and shoes, a bench or seat for removing shoes, cubbies for storing footwear. Hooks, which are handier for coats than hangers are a good choice. They also work for scarves, umbrellas, back packs and bags. Upper cubbies are great for hats, bags and packages. A small table or counter works well for mail, packages and cell phones. A dish or small hooks keep keys in check. The important thing is to purge this area often to keep it from becoming a catch-all.
Sporting goods are best kept in individual bags, backpacks or cubbies so that they can be grabbed without sorting. Leave bag unzipped until all of the items have been washed and returned. If the bag is open, there is something missing, like socks, t shirt or dance shoes.
My personal checklist includes sunglasses, keys, purse, coffee mug and cell phone. In the winter I add a scarf and gloves. Keeping these things near the door and in the same place greatly decreases the possibility that they will be forgotten at home or missing just as I head out the door. A phone charger near the door works well even if you keep your phone by your bed at night. When you get up, plug it in by the door and grab it as you go already charged.
Items to deliver, drop off, donate, mail or ship can also be left in this convenient area, so they can go out the door with you. I often move these right into the car so that they are ready whenever I am.
“Out of sight out of mind” is an old cliché that is a perfect reminder that works like a charm. If you need to remember to drop the check at the bank, mail the payment leave it on the front seat along with your child’s bag or backpack, so they don’t forget it in your car. These all serve as a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish before you go home.
When you come home at night, this is a staging area for the next day. A cue that the day is over and it is time to relax. Knowing that everything is packed and ready to do for the next day makes the evening much smoother and more enjoyable.
Pantone.com reports that the newest colors for 2016 are Rose quartz and Serenity Blue. Pale pink and Pale periwinkle reprise the 90’s pastels in a big way. Along with soft salmon/coral called “peach echo”and a warm lavender called “ lilac gray.”
All this is important because as any interior designer knows, what fashion colors do this year is what their customers will want in their home décor in a year or two. After years of neutrals and bright colors, easy on the eye pastels are just what they are looking for.
Pastel colors add a warm glow to a room and are relaxing to live with. Think of strawberry ice cream or a soft sunrise in pink, blue and soft coral. Imagine a room with pale pink walls and white or off white slip-covered furniture. Even the name, “serenity blue,”invokes a sense of calm and well, serenity. The soft periwinkle color looks like a summer sunset. Peach and gray add additional colors to the spectrum.
The new pastels are gender neutral. Soft lavender and pink in menswear will open up the next few years to more “masculine” design in softer hues. Think of a pink bedroom or soft cream and blue office space.
Paint any room a soft neutral and see the magic happen. Put your feet up, sit back and ….relax.
Nothing says comfort like a well-made layered bed. Climbing into bed at night should be a relief, not a chore. Think of a turn down service at a luxury hotel, complete with chocolates on the pillow. Sateen high thread count sheets and a down duvet speak of royalty and providence. Extra pillows add a feeling of comfort and relaxation. An extra throw for the cold nights and a neck roll to add height and support and a good night’s sleep is guaranteed. Add a bench or chair to sit on to remove shoes, a pitcher of water on the night stand and a lamp for reading. A comfy carpet or area rugs are a welcome addition to stretch your toes. Soft music, a small TV for viewing and a charger for cell phone. Don’t forget to set the alarm.
Start with the bedding. A comfortable and attractive bed starts with a comforter, duvet and cover or quilt and matching shams. A down comforter and/or feather bed is especially nice in cold winter months.
Comforters and Comforter Sets
The market place is full of ready-made synthetic fill comforters and sets. They are usually inexpensive. These are easy to launder and generally hypoallergenic, but the quality and desirability can be questionable.
Duvets: according to Wikipedia, are a type of bedding consisting of a bag filled with down, feathers, silk, or other synthetic fibers. They are generally made of white cotton and then protected with a removable decorative cover. There are a number of natural duvet options, but down is most often recommended due to its flexibility. Except in rare occasions, feather and down allergies are a result of dust and dirt collected inside the duvet, not the down itself. Shelter magazines use a high fill count down duvet and beautifully crafted duvet covers.
Synthetic Fibers: More economical than feathers or down, synthetic duvets are easy to clean, but not as insulating as feathers or down. They also are considered more hypo-allergenic.
Feathers: The contoured shape of feathers provides a supportive quality which makes them appropriate for use in sleeping pillows, decorative pillow inserts and feather beds. They are generally not used for insulating purposes.
Down: The three-dimensional plumage found under the belly feathers of ducks and geese is referred to as down, which work as insulation. Unlike feathers there is no spine, making them more comfortable, insulating and breathable. Fill power refers to the volume one ounce of down occupies. The higher the value the more volume the one ounce will occupy. Fill power also provides an index for determining the lofting, insulation properties and quality of the down.
Silk: Silk duvets are generally expensive and are prized because of their superior thermal properties, and hypoallergenic properties. The best silk duvets are made from wild silk.
Feather Bed: A feather bed is much like a duvet, except it generally uses a lower quality of feathers/down and is placed just over the mattress, under the bottom sheet.
Baffles: The construction of vertical walls of fabric between each box allows the fill to achieve its greatest loft and a smoother surface texture. The boxes are stitched closed to prevent shifting of the fill material. The box shape is more visible because the top and bottom layers of fabric are sewn together
A down comforter will last many years if cared for properly. Always protect your comforter from direct contact with body oils by using a duvet cover or by placing between two flat sheets and launder no more than once or twice per year unless there is obvious soiling. More frequent washing will shorten the life of your comforter. In between laundering we recommend you occasionally place it outside in fresh air and direct sun to restore freshness. Frequent fluffing will help retain the loft that makes your comforter so lush and inviting. Dry cleaning is an option, if you must, but we prefer not to see the chemicals added to your beautiful down bedding.
Profession laundering (note laundering, not dry cleaning) is recommended based on the fact that most consumers over apply detergent and fail to rinse and dry the item properly. If you choose to home launder please use the following guidelines:
• Check seams and fabric carefully – if weakness is evident do not home launder!
• Machine wash in an over-sized machine without a center agitator, using warm water and mild detergent on the delicate cycle.
• Do not use bleach or fabric softener.
• Repeat the rinse cycle an additional 1-2 times to ensure the detergent is completely removed.
• Dry using the low heat. Place a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls inside the dryer to add the process. Removing frequently to shake will help minimize wrinkling and aid the drying process. Dry well beyond the point where the outer fabric feels dry so that the down clusters will be fully dry – this often takes 3-4 hours.
• If possible, allow the comforter an additional 24 hours to air dry and release any moisture before placing inside a duvet cover. If you notice a lingering odor or clumping then the item was not fully dry when it was removed from the dryer.
Matelassé is a weaving or stitching technique which yields a pattern that is quilted or padded. Matelassé may be achieved by hand, on a loom, or a quilting machine. Because of its tightly woven nature, it stands up to heavy wear and tear, is washable and ages beautifully. It is very pet friendly bedding. The tight quilting is durable enough to stand up to heavy pawing and clawing and provides a sturdy protective layer over fine linens.
Pillows, whether down-filled or fiberfill add to the ambiance of the perfect bed.
Euro Shams: European shams and pillows are the standard in French décor. 27” x 27” square pillows are often covered with fabric to match sheets, duvet covers or accent fabrics. They are usually are placed next to the headboard for extra support or to add interest to the bed. Shams are covers only, and fillers are generally purchased separately from the shams.
Standard Shams: American shams generally fit standard sized pillows. These are usually 21” x 27.” Queen and King shams are also available on some products, which fit larger pillow forms.
Accent Pillows: Accent pillows are added to enhance design or for specific uses such as neck-rolls for neck support.
Bed skirts and dust ruffles, although usually commandeered to Country or Rustic designs, are making a come-back. Look for soft voile, gauze and burlap fabrics to embrace the new rustic and industrial markets.
Sheets and Pillow Cases
Cotton sheets are the most comfortable because they absorb perspiration and “breathe”. Egyptian cotton is the best quality, but other high count sheets are also acceptable. The higher the thread count the smoother and silkier the sheets will feel. Avoid blends of cotton, polyester or other fabrics, since these tend to pill and are not as absorbent.
Lastly. Add a throw to the foot of your bed for these cold winter nights. It adds an extra layer for drama and a little extra warmth.
Climb in and enjoy!